Lakeview Celebrates 40 Years in Business
BY Amber Ridings
Lakeview Rock Products Inc., North Salt Lake, Utah, has provided sand, gravel and construction materials, as well as delivery services, since 1980. As a family-owned company, Lakeview currently owns three pits. Acquiring a portion of state property, the ground between the Thomas pit and the Lower pit, allowed Lakeview to have a single, continuous property running three operations labeled as “pits.”
The people of Lakeview Rock Products see their efforts as more than making rock products, but rather as making the foundations and materials for parks, hikes, playgrounds, campgrounds, wetlands, dams and athletic fields. Their materials also provide roads, schools, golf courses, parking lots and living spaces for the community. Their products range from trail mix and pea gravel to landscape rock and gravel to slurry sand and road base and everything in between.
A Family Beginning
Lakeview Rock Products stemmed from Hughes General Contractors. Hughes’ president, Glenn Hughes, was tired of waiting in line for hours to receive the material (aggregate) he needed, so he purchased the first 20 acres of the aggregate pit.
By 1980, Hughes incorporated his new venture as Lakeview Rock Products. For the first few years the pit produced aggregate solely for Hughes consumption. It wasn’t until after the Utah floods in 1984 that Lakeview expanded to outside sales and, soon after, commercial sales. For the next few decades the Lakeview pits expanded piece by piece to reach approximately 200 acres.
Hughes’ sons, Scott and Todd, grew up in construction and learned the trade first-hand by completing work themselves. Soon after Lakeview’s incorporation, Scott became a certified blaster and chose to specialize in the aggregate field. Meanwhile, Todd started work with Hughes General Contractors, choosing to specialize in the building field. Gradually both men moved their way up through both companies and today serve as the presidents and CEOs of Lakeview Rock Products and Hughes General Contractors, following Glenn’s retirement. Keeping with the family tradition, Scott’s sons, Jason and Kyle, currently serve as pit superintendent and project manager in the companies.
Getting Off the Ground
Lakeview’s first sales were project-based and specific. In the early 1980s, Lakeview utilized a D-7 Cat, a Komatsu 155, and a Komatsu 355 to manage and manipulate their material. The company steadily added Komatsu 500s, a D-10 bulldozer, six front-end loaders, and three D-11s to the pack. The
pit uses crushers, screens, and a precisely arranged and expertly timed system of belts to sort and transport aggregates.
From the start, Lakeview’s aggregate came in high demand, growing the company faster than expected. Their 10-year plan had to speed up. The demand also led to the addition of Lakeview Asphalt Products in 2016, when the company determined their aggregate source was conducive to asphalt production.
Lakeview Asphalt purchased an Astec 400-TPH Double Barrel hot-mix asphalt plant with two silos, which became operational July 2016. From the start, Scott Hughes’ main goal was to provide the industry along the Wasatch Front with a quality product without sacrificing price. With his years of experience crushing aggregates, maintaining the consistency of product gradations was easy. His experience using quality recycled material and having a comprehensive quality control program has helped make Lakeview Asphalt one of the industry leaders in material production in Utah.
“Utah’s construction industry is dominated by large construction companies that supply their own material,” Vice President of Operations Kevin Smith said. “These companies also sell to smaller local paving companies while sitting across from them on bid day to compete for paving projects. We hope to extend our services into the future, so these companies have other opportunities besides bidding against their suppliers.”
Quality, price and relationship built over the years eventually required Lakeview to add two more silos (for a total of four) in 2017. They reconfigured to upsurge their capacity for demand, doubling capacity. While the business continues to increase, Lakeview maintains its goal to increase only as needed. They actively reinvest in new equipment—loaders, dozers, crusher, and other new machinery—to meet customers’ needs.
Speeding Up the Process
Lakeview’s operators have experience in the building side of construction and know the importance of getting materials to customers quickly and efficiently. Early on, the company placed a strict limit on how long they would allow a truck to wait before being loaded. If loading took longer than a specific time, the customer received the load for free. This rigorous practice early in Lakeview’s life established a pattern of promptness and efficiency that earned Lakeview the nickname “the fastest loaders in the West.”
Today, all workers must have 24 hours of training in mining safety and health prior to beginning work and must complete an eight-hour refresher course every year thereafter. If Lakeview hires someone with previous mining experience, that person must have eight hours of additional on-site training, including a site-specific rundown of safety procedures and mining operations (orientation, equipment, etc.).
Changing the Market
As a company with 40 years in the rock business, Lakeview management aspires to:
- Educate the market;
- Change what they know about asphalt;
- Provide tested and proven options;
- Offer low maintenance options; and
- Lower wear and tear on machines.
Lakeview continues to improve its system and find ways to better serve customers. The pit is a hard rock pit that requires all material to be drilled and blasted by Lakeview’s internal blasting crews. Lakeview utilizes D10 and D11 bulldozers to push it all down for processing. Rock hammers break the material into three-foot bits, and jaw and cone crushers process the material smaller to meet specifications. In the end, Lakeview loads the product on the trucks, scales them and sends them down the road.
Owning an aggregate pit is not without its challenges. Lakeview’s three pits are located on the border of Salt Lake and Davis Counties and in both Salt Lake City and North Salt Lake boundaries, requiring Lakeview to comply with multiple zoning regulations.
Lakeview has found that providing a local resource for project materials can reduce the carbon footprint of construction by lowering transportation costs and duration. Further, the quarries are strategically located off Highway 89 and Beck Street in North Salt Lake, allowing quick truck entrance and exit.
The company also aims to be conscientious of how it might affect neighbors and seeks to minimize its impact by using water, paved areas and a mobile street sweeper to control dust during mining operations. Lakeview implemented a dust control plan that incorporates a water truck in each of the pits. In an additional effort to be courteous to drivers and neighbors off I-15, Lakeview has hooked in via hard line in all blasting and push-off locations for a high volume water sprinkler system to minimize fugitive dust.
Projects for the People
More recently Lakeview provided the materials for Legacy Highway and supplied material for the I-15 widening, which was named Project of the Year by the State of Utah. They also completed the Chevron canal relocation and provided materials for Farmington Crossing, Knudsen Park and similar projects throughout the state.
Today, Lakeview still offers its customers excellent value. Craig Dean, Lakeview’s sales manager, said, “We produce quality aggregate/asphalt products at very competitive prices. Our quick loading time is also a money-saving bonus to our customers. We feel we have a very solid future and plan to remain one of the few locally owned suppliers for the next 60 years.”
In 2020, Lakeview continues to prioritize responsive customer service. As a supplier-only producer, Lakeview’s sales team not only provides pricing but uses their industry experience and network to put their customers in contact with prospective new clients.
“Lakeview Asphalt wants to be known as a partner as well as a supplier,” Smith said. “Our growth is contingent on our customers’ ability to capture work while remaining profitable. If we can make our customers more competitive on bid day, and we both strive to make each other better, we can position ourselves and our customers to be successful in the ups and downs of a changing market.”
Lakeview aggregate and asphalt production has continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Governor Herbert has deemed construction essential. Looking through this unique time and toward the future, Smith foresees “the volatility of the oil market possibly impacting the asphalt industry due to supply issues. Price wars and the decline in travel could slow production, causing price increase of purchasing binder products.” As the economy and pricing may shift, Lakeview will strive to always put its customers first.